Santiago seeks COA probe of govt savings



Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago has formally asked the Commission on Appointments to look into the alleged widespread abuse of   government’s savings  amid controversy  involving  the Senate’s own budget.

In a letter to COA chairperson Ma. Gracia Pulito-Tan on Thursday,  Santiago also requested the   agency  to upload  on the Internet  the total income of  all high public officials.

“This is to respectfully request a COA  study, report, and recommendation on the reported widespread abuse of the constitutional word ‘savings’ and the constitutional  phrase ‘public p urpose’ as well as on my proposed internet upload of the total income (not merely salary) and the  discretionary funds of every high public  official,” she said in her letter.

“The purpose of this request is to advise the Senate committee on revision of code and laws, which I chair, on a potential bill to reduce corruption, by stopping such abuses and by giving the public what they have the right to know— the total income of high public officials, not just their salaries,” she said.

Santiago pointed out that under Section 25, Article 6 of the Constitution, the heads of the three branches of government – executive, legislative, and the judiciary – as well as the heads of the constitutional commissions “may, by law, be authorized to augment  any item in the general appropriations law for their respective offices from savings in other items for  their respective  appropriations.”

“This raises several issues. The Constitution enumerates the highest officials  of h the land as authorized to exercise this power but why is this power also exercised by  the heads of apparently all government offices?” she asked.

“Should not COA enumerate what savings are valid, so as to prevent heads of offices from refusing  to incur necessary expenses in order to produce savings that will b e distributed among themselves at yearend?”

“If an office always claims to have savings at yearend, should not COA resident  auditor be duty-bound to recommend that the next year’s appropriation for the item should be reduced?” she further asked.

Also under Section 25  of the Constitution, Santiago said  “discretionary funds appropriated for particular officials shall be  disbursed only for public purposes to be supported by appropriate vouchers.”

In the Senate and the House of Representatives, one discretionary fund consists of additional MOOE (maintenance and other operating expenses) during the year, most notable she said “in effect constituting a Christmas gift to every senator and representative.”

“This also raises several issues. Is it a valid public purpose to give a legislator additional MOOE when it is already the end of the year?”  she said.

“Can such additional MOOE be treated  by the senator as additional pork barrel to be spent, not on office expenses but on alleged charitable donations or public works projects? Should not COA also enumerate which public purposes are valid so as to prevent abuse?”

In these cases involving  valid definitions of “savings “ and “public purposes,” Santiago said  it is only the Supreme Court that can  authoritatively  settle the issue.

“But under the administrative law principle of primary jurisdiction, the interpretation of any law by the government agency charged to execute it is granted the proper respect and presumption of validity, unless otherwise reversed  by  the Supreme Court,” she pointed out.

Santiago also requested  the COA to upload on the Internet the “potential income” of ever president, vice president, senator, representative, cabinet member, head of a nationwide bureau and similar high officials.

The total income, she said, should consist not only of the fixed salary but also other sources of income.

“In addition, COA should indicate the discretionary funds at the disposal of such high public officials whatever they are called: confidential funds, intelligence funds, etc. This would serve the constitutional purpose of public accountability,” Santiago added.

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  • Peehel

    Sen. Miriam Santiago! You are my Miss Universe. Please make it happen before the election.

  • marco

    kapag naganap ito…malamng sa eleksyon makikita na kung sino talaga ang dapat na iboto ng taong bayan

    • popeyee

      ibig sabihin, up to now marami pa ring bumuboto ang di alam kung anong klaseng politiko ang kanilang ibinuboto? No wonder kung ganyan ang klaseng buhay meron tayong mga pinoy..

  • padre_damaso

    really?  Commission on Appointment?  or maybe on  Audit? 

  • Henry Berina

    mataray ang lola- miriam santaigo

  • ed_nique

    the COA she is referring this to is the Commission on Audit …

    this is a real concern. apparently government agencies and lgu’s give out additional christmas bonus to their employees from their “savings”.

  • tilamsik

    That’s the right thing to do… and exempt no one including Santiago.

    • popeyee

      may sinabi bang exempted siya?

  • speedstream2

    The good senator makes a telling point. Hopefully, the COA can respond accordingly like yesterday, given that what is at stake is taxpayers’ money. Bottom line: proper remedial measures should be put in place for the common good.

  • Juan_Sipag08

    Sana mangyari ang panukala mo madam senadora, grabe ang pag aabuso sa pera ng mamamayan. Isama rin sa pag pulish yung mga officials sa COA at BIR tingnan natin ang kapal ng kanilang bulsa at mukha.



  • Jeanne Thompson

    For sure madaming tiwaling mga politiko at nagtatrabaho sa gobyerno ang kinakabahan dito.

    “If an office always claims to have savings at yearend, should not COA resident  auditor be duty-bound to recommend that the next year’s appropriation for the item should be reduced?”

    Actually, ang mga savings ng iba’t ibang sangay ng gobyerno ay galing sa budget nila para sa paghire ng mga bagong personnel. Sinasadya talaga nilang hinde maghire ng additional na tao para kunwari ay may “savings” sila. Ito ang ginagamit nila para sa additional na bonus nila. Corruption na naman ito tsk tsk tsk.

  • tiriring


  • RyanE

    As they use to say, there are many ways to kill a cat. Likewise, there are many ways to swindle people’s money and this year-end additional MOOE is definitely one of those ways. 

  • Bonggebongge

    Salute to Miriam….

  • dennis

    With due respect,Sen.Miriam Defensor Santiago is my bet for 2016 for the next President of the Philippines.While others like Sen.Ping Lacson is very effective for DILG Sec.position:Sen.Gringo Honasan for Presidential Security Adviser;Mr.Domingo Siazon (former UNIDO Director General) is best fitted for Sec.of Foreign Affairs; Albert del Rosario as Ambassador to China?Frank Chavez (former Solicitor General) best for Supreme Court Chief Justice.Pres.Aquino is best for Finance Secretary;Gen.Espina for PNP Chief; Sen.Francis Escudero for Sec.of Education.While De Lima and Henares can retain their respective position.Senate President? I don´t know.

  • zom

    buti na lang hindi sila bati ni enrile :))

    masama pa naman kaaway si miriam :))

    go go go madam! make enrile suffer

  • zom

    wala bang proofreaders ang inquirer? bakit commission on appointments? zzzzzz

    • Homer Guo

       meron daw po. kaso natutulog sa kangkungan o kaya naman ay hindi rion nya alam ang mali sa tama at mas lalong di nya alam paano itatama.

  • dennis

    Sen.Santiago,Please don´t leave this country,Philippines.We need your “High Voltage Capacity of Knowledge” in our country instead in International Court in Amsterdam.

  • Dodjie Basco

    Commission on Appointments??? 

  • dennis

    Ms Maila Ager (PDI) ayusin mo nga ang COA meaning mo at mukhang out of sense!

    • Homer Guo

       masanay na po tayo sa writer na si maila kasi hindi ito ang una o ikalawa na mali ang content ng news nya. di naman in-edit ng proofreader nila o editor. parami ng parami ang mali sa PDI.

      • dennis

        Sa isang parte like in our country eh hindi maganda yan! Baka sa halip na Commission  on Audits eh ang Commission on Appoinments ang mapagbalingan ng init ng ulo ng tao! Pwedeng makamatay yan?Lalo na at walang “Gun ban”?

    • vince_bugaboo

      ayaw rin umupa ng proof reader ang PDI para makatipid din para meron din silang pagha-hatian sa end of the year. 

  • John_Galt_II

    Miriam at her best. Kung ganito lang sana lagi ang bruha na to!

  • philip_manila

    Magulat kayo pag si Enrile ang nagpatawag COA Audit.

  • jbadge

    Say whatever you want about Miriam, but she is as transparent as they come. She’s very sensible and her legal opinions are hard to reckon with. She may not always seem right in the eyes of her detractors, but her no nonsense approach on issues such as this is well received by people opposed to corruption and irregularities in our government. I hope that the COA heeds her call and other people would rally behind her.

  • boldyak

    MANILA, Philippines – Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago has formally asked the Commission on Appointments to look into the alleged widespread abuse of   government’s savings  amid controversy  involving  the Senate’s own budget……..COA…COMMISISION ON APPOINTMENTS?????BAKA COMMISSION ON AUDIT…

  • Weder-Weder Lang

    I absolutely agree with Senator Santiago on this. Commission on Audit should probe gov’t savings. I also have to say that Senator Santiago, while admirable in her independence, also has an axe to grind. Be that as it may, what happens when Comm on Audit comes out with findings of misdeclared savings due to overbudget and other anomalies?

    Will they go after Senator Drilon who railroaded the deliberations on budget?

    Will they go after Speaker Belmonte or Senate President Enrile?

    Will they go after DBM’s Florencio Abad who trumpets the 50% increase in MOOE as good for the economy?

    I have no doubt Commission on Audit Chair Grace Pulido-Tan will do a fine job. She also exposed the misdeclared, understated and undeclared SALNs of CJ Sereno and other justices for 2011. This was detailed by PCIJ,org and GMA news TV in their investigative report “Gods of Faura”. Despite this, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio has not taken any action yet. The congress is not about to impeach CJ Sereno and the other justices.

    The anomalies are obvious enough to be detected easily even if camouflaged by creative accounting. After the anomalies are exposed, who’s going to prosecute the wrongdoers?

    Ngayon pa lang tahimik na si PNoy about the MOOE and cash gifts, of which LP also had a hand in.

  • Fred

    Many of our legislators refer MOOE as MOOLAH … Maintenance Of Other Lifestyle And/or

  • lakayamaya

    the COA probe of govt savings is good but the question is, bakit ngayon lang? Ilang beses ka na bang senador? you mean to say senator santiago that you were blinded before kaya hindi mo nakikita at naiisip ang mga bagay na yan? Hindi ba ang dahilan nito ay napahiya ka kay senator enrile? or your mind is not as good as that of enrile  because you cannot unseat him as senate president?

  • vince_bugaboo

    ah, siguradong sa taong ito, patipiran na para may mapagha-hatian sa end of the year. magtitiis ngayon ang kanilang mga empleyado ng hindi nagpupunas ng wet-pu pagkatapos umetsas sa opisina para makatipid ng toilet paper, yey! 

  • vince_bugaboo

    at the risk of being branded a nitpicker, Commission on Appointments is too much as a replacement for a mistakenly named government identity to be considered a “tpyo orrer”. 
    hire me, PDI, please, as a proofreader especially for Ms. Ager.

  • Mendoza_Juniors

     Yan na. Masaya na. Ito na ang Karma ng RH Law. Magkakabuhol-buhol na ang moralidad ng mga politiko. Dati na silang tumatanggap ngayon lang nagreklamo? Miriam saan ang pagiging matuwid mo?

    • mayong

       bata ka pa nga junior…. noon pa man alam mo na kong ano si madam sa mga kurakot na tao…. ngayon lang siya naglakas loob dahil she will be no longer serving the philippines. at hindi na siya takot na hindi siya suportahan sa mga politikomg yan. at seguro sawa na siya sa mga taong katulad niyong laging naninindingan sa kamalian…..

  • Dennis

    Galit c madame meriam kasi kalahati law daw sa kanya sabi ny kay tandang enrile ANO KABA HINDI MARUNONG MAGBILANG? Anong akala mo sa akin cheap?

    • mayong

       oplok. hindi ganyan and ugale ni madam Miriam ang pera niya ay pinaghirapan niya…. marami kaya siyang law firm……

  • valsore

    She’s geting fatter. I think the more she gets older, the more unhealthier she looks.

  • jimb68

    many good points, will COA probe make positive change happen? if not senate needs to put its own house in order.

  • JoseMiguelCasuarino

    … there are savings.. yes… honest and dedicated heads of government agencies can also spend wisely on serious and needed projects and items … concerned about the money of the people entrusted to them.  YES this must be looked into…. and those savings must be returned and not to be spent whimsically… they cannot do whatever they like on the money of the people. Ma konseyensiya kayo.

  • George Uy

    There goes the dream of JPE for his son Jackie to become Senator. Like father like son. They treat their positions in government as a way to enjoy all the perks & funds of the Fil. people that they treat as if it’s their own. I’d like to see JPE dole out his own money to see if he would so gallantly give them away. Sa mga Pinoy na botante, huwag natin kalimutan si Enrile na martial law administrator at sa kanyang pamimigay nga ating pera. Sa Mayo, ibasura si Jackie Enrile at lahat na mga kandidato ng political dynasties.

  • vince_bugaboo

    Habang napipilitan tayong magtampisaw sa baha at nagkakanda-lunod, sila naman ay nagtatampisaw sa katakut-takot na pera.

    Sana sa susunod na umulan ng pera sa senado at House, in the form of Barya naman para magka-bukul-bukol ang mga tulisan na ito para palakpak din naman ang mga tenga ng taong bayan!

  • johnlordphilip

    Democracy at work!
    The more they fight each other, the more PEOPLE will know their dirty SECRETS!

  • erwin mappatao

    Check your article. Should it have been Commission on Audit not Appointments?

  • Dwaaw

    Tinipid ba ang bawat maralitang Pilipino para magkaroon ng SAVINGS? Bakit hindi na lang ito ilagay sa mga proyekto na makakatulong mapaunlad ang pamumuhay ng ating mga mahihirap na kababayan. Kung lahat ng opisina sa gobyerno ay magtitipid para sa bandang huli ay mapaghatian sila.. wala talagang pag-asa na umunlad ang Pilipinas. 2013 na ganito pa rin ang mentality ng mga pulitiko pwede bang magbago naman kayo. Dugo at pawis ang puhunan para magtrabaho, maghirap at pataas ng pataas pa ang buwis na ipinapatong para lang ipamigay at paghatihatian na akala mo ay sila ang NAGPAKAHIRAP nito. Nakakalula ang perang pinaghahati-hatian nyo. Sanay malula na kayo ng tuluyan. :poop:

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